The song is a classic one, but it in no way matches the psalm from which it was taken. The Psalm really is more of a pep talk to the author who needs to remind himself that God is his hope and his shield. He continues to bring up things that aren’t really going his way and then reminds himself that you know what, if I don’t hope in the Lord, then all is lost. I have to hope in the Lord.
So there are some who live in realities where in their families or at their work they are the only ones who want to walk with the Lord. Those who surround them have no interest. There are some spouses who would love to have their husbands attend church with them, or some parents who would love to have their grown children attend church with them, but at a certain point we have to realize that at times we are not the ones to lead them to church. Someone else will be in that position. Our role and our responsibility is to hope that God will work on their lives.
But until that happens, our soul can be cast down. We worry about their salvation. We worry about their contentment and being happy with what they have and who they are. When our soul is cast down it is then that we have to read this psalm again and hear the psalmist, who has faced the same difficulties and the same depressed spirit, say at the end of the psalm: “Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.” That refrain can only, at times, come from within us. It often doesn’t come from, as vs. 3 reminds us, the people with whom we surround ourselves. Rather, that encouragement, that reminder that God is our help and our hope, has to come from within us. We are the only ones, at times, who can hear those words and as a deer, be led to the water and drink. Don’t ever lose sight that God is our hope and our help, remind yourself continually of that.